You are here

Near throw bass options?

For performing musicians and engineers: stagecraft, engineering and gear.

Re: Near throw bass options?

Postby The Red Bladder » Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:43 pm

mikehende wrote: he recommend I try the Aphex Big Bottom unit as that is designed to punch the bass without increasing the audio level:

In that case, your speaker builder is (I am sorry to say and assuming he is in possession of all the facts) an idiot.

I have the Aphex Big Bottom - the real one, not just the software and it does a COMPLETELY different task. It adds harmonic distortion to the bass.

Hugh told you the answer right at the beginning - it's the bloody room. A garage is the WORST place to listen to anything! IT'S TOO SMALL!

We have a listening room that doubles as a movie theater. It's where I do mastering in stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 and where we watch completed films (and lately in C19 lockdown watch movies of course!) and it is acoustically treated. Bass traps adorn every corner. I spent an entire day measuring the room - and I happen to know what I am doing! It is many times larger than a bloody garage!

Without proper acoustic treatment, the second and third rows would get NO BASS AT ALL. With treatment, you hardly notice any difference.

When I am not playing at being a studio owner, I am a business consultant and this is a classic case of what I call 'Looking for magic zoom pills.'

Hugh gave you the answer - but it is not the answer you WANTED to hear!

Now stop waiting for that magic Zoom-Pill and listen to people that know what they are talking about - in this case, Hugh! It's the damn room (or rather that horrible garage).

Tell the wife that from now on, the living room is your new music studio and she can watch Eastenders on the lavatory!
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2487
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Near throw bass options?

Postby mikehende » Tue Jun 23, 2020 7:56 pm

Well yes, I fully understood what Hugh had written and yes it was not pleasing to hear but question is what do I do now, give up because that is the situation?

I am thinking I look into any option which might help the situation is all.

Thanks for the feedback on the Aphex, that will save me a lot of headaches in trying that out!

p.s. Just curious, if that Aphex does not add punch or expand the bass according to it's description and video demo, what does it do exactly?
mikehende
Regular
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:02 pm

Re: Near throw bass options?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Jun 24, 2020 10:39 am

I would love to give you magic answer, but there is none. The Aphex adds harmonic distortion to the top and bottom end and that all it does. That is close to being the opposite of what you want! It does not add punch in any way whatsoever. You could almost say that it 'muddies' the bass.

But this is 'Mission Possible!'

If you are absolutely determined to make the garage your music room and you can't persuade the wife to watch Eastenders on the loo (wives can be funny like that!) then you have to start with the basics.

1. Put a mic in the listening position on a stand at head height. (Better still, a calibrated sound meter, but because all we are doing is measuring differences, a mic will do!) Feed the mic to a decent level meter that gives you a fairly accurate reading.

2. Put a single sub in one corner of the room and hook it up with your computer or a tablet/laptop/whatever.

3. Go to this site https://www.szynalski.com/tone-generator/ and pick a low note, say about 40Hz. You will end up trying different notes and tones and finding out quite a bit about you room and learn a bit about acoustics at the same time!

4. Move the sub to different positions around the room until the mic gets the loudest signal. This will probably be about one meter away from the L or R front corner on the floor and against the wall - but need not be. It could be anywhere!

5. Leave the sub there and move the mic around the room. You are going to get null points all over the place; points where there is no bass at all!

6. Repeat steps 3, 4 & 5 with different frequencies until you get a good idea of how the room is behaving - and a single-car garage that is untreated will behave like a pig! You will now have a mental map of your room and begin to 'feel' how the sound reflects back into the room, creating null-points where the waves cancel one another out.

7. Now put the sub in the best position again and find those spots in the corners of the room where there is waaay too much bass - almost certainly in the ceiling-to-walls corners and the four corners of the room. That's where you are going to put bass traps.

8. Start building bass traps! Don't buy those silly foam things from some online catalogue, they're mostly useless or at best not that good and far too expensive for what is basically sexed-up packing foam.

If you want a nice, neat, good-looking bass trap construction that will work and is cheap, acoustic Rockwool (B&Q or Wickes) fairly tightly packed inside cardboard boxes that are covered in some nice material works very well and considering you may need up to 30 running meters of them, is quick, cheap and easy to build.

Single-sized boxes can be bought on eBay. Close them with gaffa tape and not packing tape and staple and glue them with silicon glue to the walls and stick down the material using spray-on glue (eBay again!) One or two days' work and the job's a good-un!

I have running bass traps in our main listening room that are 30cm by 20cm and they work very well indeed.
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2487
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Near throw bass options?

Postby mikehende » Wed Jun 24, 2020 2:39 pm

First let me say thank you very much for taking all that time and effort to write all of this!

My son uses the garage for his music production therefore it's congested in there and don't know how effectively I can move the sub around. I am still in the process of moving things around and trying to fix the garage but when done the only free space I will have is a walkway of like 6'Wx15'L.

Image


Pic of the the son's bass traps:

Image

Yes I know the garage is too small, no need to rehash that, just looking to improve things if possible.

I am not clear on one issue, if we should be able to find a "sweet-spot" with the recommended experiment, what does that mean, that it is in that spot the sub should be placed?
mikehende
Regular
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:02 pm

Re: Near throw bass options?

Postby The Red Bladder » Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:42 pm

Empty the place out and start testing. Better still, get junior to empty the place out and tell him that the whole testing thing is to further his knowledge of physics!

Half that stuff can go in the bin! Seriously - boxes, speaker cabs with no drivers, racks with nothing in them? Bin! You'll feel liberated! What you don't bin can go into a shed or somewhere dry and safe where they can be stored.

Those bass-traps look like rolls of Rockwool with bin lids top and bottom - that a bass trap doth not make! A bass trap has to have a semi-compliant membrane (e.g. corrugated cardboard) that moves with the bass but slows the pressure wave down. Think of it as a shock absorber on a car's suspension. Also, they have to be in the right places - standing in the middle of the room somewhere ain't it!

I learnt a long time ago that if you want people to be productive, they have to have tools they love and a place of work that is a joy to be in. A room full of rubbish and plastic garden chairs and horrible acoustics are not conducive to being creative. People have converted garages into nice recording composition rooms before - so you can do this!

Acoustic felt (Wickes) on the floor and then wooden or false wood on that. 1" PU foam boards (Kingspan) between wood-battons on the walls and ceiling and cover that with plasterboard - also helps to tame the bass. It's all a great lockdown project!

Tell junior that he only gets to use the new studio if he does his share of the work!
The Red Bladder
Frequent Poster (Level2)
Posts: 2487
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 12:00 am
Location: . . .
 

Re: Near throw bass options?

Postby mikehende » Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:57 pm

Whoa, that will be some project for me to get even bass no matter where I should sit in that room but thanks for putting things in perspective for me.
mikehende
Regular
Posts: 228
Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2017 5:02 pm

Re: Near throw bass options?

Postby CS70 » Wed Jun 24, 2020 6:58 pm

mikehende wrote:Well yes, I fully understood what Hugh had written and yes it was not pleasing to hear but question is what do I do now, give up because that is the situation?

I am thinking I look into any option which might help the situation is all.

Thanks for the feedback on the Aphex, that will save me a lot of headaches in trying that out!

p.s. Just curious, if that Aphex does not add punch or expand the bass according to it's description and video demo, what does it do exactly?

Things like the big bottom are usually used when mixing to allow people to hear the bass line and the kick also in relatively high-passed systems. That's because, even if the "real" bass frequencies are low in level, by hearing the harmonics our brains are tricked into "hearing" them. The main difference between actual bass and the illusion is, as a friend used to put it, that the illusion can't blow up ladies' skirts :D Real bass, you feel with your body rather than just hearing it.. it moves air, a lot. You can get similar effects (adding harmonics) with distortion, but Aphex for a while made these kind of products riding on the success of the Aural Exciter and made a bunch of products with that goal. Another "famous" one is the BBE sonic maximizer.

There's people with more live experience than I, but I back in the time some cheap PA systems (or playback system, thinks DJs and vinyl) didn't have a lot of bass, so using boxes like the Big Bottom would help there as well. Today's PAs (and 16 bit digital sources) has made boxes like these mostly useless in a live context. At least, I haven't see one used for a long time.

In your case, if you want to just "hear" the bass - rather than "feel" it - to a degree the box could help a little - maybe - especially if you treat your room with broadband absorbers. The trick to hear good bass sometimes is not to have much real bass.

As the fellows say, it's your room that's fundamentally too reflective in its current state.
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5558
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Previous